[Published at Saskatoon Funeral Home ]
Mass of Christian Burial for Fr. Ron Zimmer, OMI, was held Sept. 16 at St. Philip Neri Parish in Saskatoon.
Fr. Ron Zimmer died peacefully at Central Haven Special Care Home on Sept. 7, 2023.
He was born in Biggar, SK, on Sept. 3, 1935, the fourth of nine children, to Margaret (Kaufmann) and Bernard W. (Bill) Zimmer.
The Zimmer family farmed near Handel, SK and although the farming life wasn’t always easy, they were a faith-filled and close-knit family. Following his early school years in Handel, Ron attend St. Thomas College in Battleford, SK and from there, entered the novitiate of the Oblates, at St. Norbert, MB.
His scholasticate years were spent at St. Charles Scholasticate, Battleford, SK, and he professed his Perpetual Vows on Sept. 8, 1955. He was ordained to the priesthood on Sept. 21, 1960.
He earned arts and education degrees from universities in Ottawa and Edmonton, and his first years of priesthood were spent as a teacher of French, religion, bookkeeping and drafting, mostly in Alberta schools.
In 1973, Zimmer was appointed Novice Master at the novitiate in Battleford, and while he was there, he also served his religious community as treasurer, superior, working at the Oblate Press, and in the library and archives. He also assisted with parish ministry in the communities he was living in.
In the 1980’s, Zimmer began serving the Church and the people of God as a parish priest in many communities in Saskatchewan. He served in many northern communities including, Goodsoil, Pierceland, Ile-a-la-Crosse, Cumberland House, Loon Lake, La Loche, Sandy Bay, Pelican Narrows and many associated towns and reserves.
Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2002, Zimmer retired with his brother Oblates at Mazenod Residence, in Saskatoon, and subsequently, went to live at Central Haven.
Zimmer was known for his devotion to Mary, his wonderful photography, commitment to his family, his service to the Church and his tireless energy in caring for others.
As busy as he was in his active years of ministry, his retirement years were not spent idly. He often could be found at the side of other residents at Central Haven. Because of his struggle with Parkinson’s, words sometimes failed him, but his gestures of love and blessing never did. His large family was never forgotten while he was in service of his religious community and the Church. All of them remember his phone calls and visits and acts of care and kindness.
Fr. Ron Zimmer was predeceased by his parents, Margaret and Bill Zimmer, and his siblings Joyce Roth, Bernard Zimmer, and Rose Heaton; his brothers-in-law Fritz Roth and Ed Keller; his nieces Jeannine Bilodeau and Nathalie Bilodeau; his nephew Leo Roth.
He is survived by his brother Oblates of OMI Lacombe Canada, and their associates; his sisters Fay Keller, Lorna Litvenenko, Patricia Bilodeau (Florent), and Jeannette Zimmer, his brother Alan Zimmer, sister-in-law Tillie Zimmer and brother-in-law Doug Heaton (Madeleine). He is remembered with great affection by 36 surviving nieces, nephews, and their families.